The warmer weather has arrived and so has everything else that pairs with it: Summer grilling, potlucks, parties and lots and lots of sweet corn. Few foods say summer like fresh corn. Those sweet juicy kernels clustered around the cob pleading for someone to eat them. Last month we were wanting to cook more corn recipes for clients on-set and wanted to make a corn salad recipe that was easy to eat. Basically everyone loves corn so much and we all agreed that it’s easier to eat the kernels by the spoon-ful than to bite it off the cob. Besides, it’s much cleaner to shovel all the kernels in our mouths than to make a mess off the cob.
grilled corn and cheese mixture is all it takes for this awesome salad
Our solution was to make this wonderful Mexican grilled corn salad, which is essentially the de-kerneled version of the Mexican street corn-on-the-cob. Wow, everyone LOVED this recipe and on that day we had 10 eaters, and they all killed this salad. All the textures and flavors were truly wonderful and it’s not a surprise that Mexican street corn is such a hit. There’s so many recipes for Mexican street corn out there that it’s fun to see everyones different flavor profiles. Our version has lots of garlic and cilantro, which is what everyone loved so much.
After making several versions of this Mexican street corn, both on the grill and just cooked on stovetop, we found that both tasted wonderful. Cooking the corn kernels on a cast iron pan, on the stove top actually gave a much sweeter flavor because it released some of the sweet corn juices. Both versions were well received and it’s going to be a definite regular on our lunch menus. We’re making it again this week for a bunch of garden parties because this Summer weather is screaming out for more corn.
A few years ago we actually tried growing our own corn and the results were ok. The ears didn’t get all that huge and the kernels didn’t fully develop. Maybe it needed more sun, or maybe it was the variety, but have any of you had success growing it in your garden? Any tips for us newbie corn growers out here in Southern California?
diane and todd
Mexican Grilled Street Corn (ELOTES) Salad
Yield: Serves 4
Total Time: 30 minutes
We shucked the corn for this salad version for easier serving when we have large parties. But you can certainly serve it the corn-on-the-cob. Just make the cheese mixture ahead of time. Then grill your corn and top it with the cheese mixture and extra cojita and cilantro! If you’re making this salad version, best flavor is if you cook it on a hot cast iron pan because you can get the char which gives great flavor.
For a stylish grilled corn on the cob (and for easier handling) just pull back the husks, but don't pull them all the way off.
- 1/3 cup (80ml) sour cream or Mexican crema
- 1/4 cup (60ml) mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup (120ml) finely crumbled cotija or feta cheese, plus more for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon (3ml) smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon (3ml) chili powder, plus more for serving
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) garlic powder
- 1/4 cup (60ml) finely chopped cilantro leaves, and extra for garnish (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 4 ears of corn, husked *see headnote
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 2 stalks of green onions, sliced thin
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- In bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cilantro and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Grilled Whole Corn-On-Cob Option: Heat grill on high heat or heat coals for direct grilling. Season husked corn with salt and pepper. Grill until nicely charred and tender all around.
- Sautéed De-Kerneled Corn Salad Option: Heat large skillet on medium high heat. Add olive oil, then add corn and green onions. Cook corn until slightly charred and brown, around 5 minutes, just until the corn is plump and cooked. Transfer corn to a large bowl and allow to cool.
- For the grilled whole corn-on-the-cob, immediately after grilling, brush corn with sauce. If desired top with extra cheese, spices, sliced green onions, cilantro and serve with lime wedges.
- For sautéed corn salad option, pour cheese mixture over corn and gently stir until combined. Add extra cheese for topping, paprika or chili powder. You can add extra sliced green onion and cilantro for garnish. Serve with lime wedges. *Reminder* for this salad version, make sure to allow the kernels to cool completely. If not and you're adding the cheese sauce to hot corn kernels, you might end up with a cheesy corn soup/stew. Which isn't all that bad tasting either!